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Federal lawsuit filed immediately after Governor signed bill into law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Florida State Conference of Branches and Youth
Units of the NAACP (“Florida NAACP”) serves as an organizational plaintiff in the
federal lawsuit, Gruver et al. v. Barton, et al., challenging SB7066, which was filed
on June 28, 2019 by The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, NAACP
Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), and Brennan Center for Justice at
NYU Law.

On November 6, 2018, a supermajority of Florida voters—more than 5 million—
voted to approve Amendment 4, which resulted in the largest expansion of the
electorate in decades. Amendment 4 provides an opportunity for families, friends,
neighbors, and co-workers to publicly endorse second changes, redemption, and
reconciliation and overcome Florida’s felony disenfranchisement scheme—a Jim
Crow vestige. Rather than embrace this historic mandate to expand voting rights,
the Florida Legislature and Governor seek to undermine the will of Florida’s voters
by enacting SB7066.

SB7066 punishes people based on their wealth by forcing those convicted of
felonies to repay all fines, fees, and other monetary penalties associated with their
convictions, or face disenfranchisement. People often owe significant debt that
they simply cannot pay after they complete their sentence — debt that the new law
seeks to raise as a barrier to Amendment 4’s restoration of the right to vote. In
addition, this law will disproportionately impact people of color and their families,
who in Florida encounter long-standing wealth and employment disparities.
Florida NAACP members are among the hundreds of thousands of those impacted
by this restrictive and unconstitutional law.

“This lawsuit is about honoring Floridians who voted to remove a Jim Crow era
defect in our state and eliminating what amounts to a poll tax on those who have
served their time, probation, and parole obligations,” said Florida State Conference
NAACP President, Adora Obi Nweze. “But it is more than that; it is also a fight for
all Floridians to have a voice in their communities and over policies that impact
their lives and the lives of their family members. SB7066 cannot stand and we are
committed to challenging it.”

Read the original release here

 

 

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